Aug

21

Uptown:

My favorite art museum in NYC is The Frick Collection. Large enough to get overwhelmed with the beauty of both the art and the building, not so big you get exhausted and feel small like in The Metropolitan Museum, not so crowded you get jostled in the crowds and can’t see anything, like at MOMA or The Guggenheim. For the Frick at 70th St. and 5th Ave, take the 6 Train to 68th St.-Hunter College. (Editor's note: As of this posting the Frick Collection at 70th St. and 5th Ave is closed for renovations, but the Frick Madison is open at 945 Madison Avenue at 75th Street. Take the 6 Train to 77th St.)

Don’t forget The Cloisters (A train to 190th Street, then a 5 minute walk through an amazing garden). It is a building built partly from parts of cathedrals and monasteries wrecked during WW1, and saved from being re-used to build stone walls, instead reassembled and made into a museum on a bluff overlooking the Hudson River. It houses one of the world’s best tapestry collections.

The largest church in the US (as per floor area) is The Cathedral of St. John The Divine at 112th Street and Amsterdam Ave. A few blocks North, at Amsterdam Avenue and 116th Street, is the Columbia University campus, which is interesting to walk through. Riverside Church, also breathtaking, is a few blocks away at 120th Street and Riverside Drive. Across the street at 121st Street and Riverside Drive is Grant’s Tomb, which was the most popular tourist attraction in the country in 1900. #1 train to 110th or 116th Street, or B or C train to 110th Street.

Midtown:

But the real cathedral, the Cathedral of Commerce, is B & H Photo on 9th Avenue at 34th Street. Don’t walk in and get overwhelmed and neglect to go upstairs, where the real action is. I find it inspiring to see so much success, so many people adding value through consenting exchange, something no government could ever hope to create, such prosperity enjoyed by all, that I never cease to be inspired no matter how many times I go there. They are religious, thus they are closed on Saturdays, and close early on Friday. Open Sunday through Friday.

The most beautiful room in (I think) the world is the Rose Reading Room in the library that is on 5th Avenue between 40th and 42nd Street. From there you can walk two blocks east to Grand Central Terminal, the largest and (I think) most beautiful train station in the world at Park Avenue and 42nd Street. If you want to see some of the natural beauty of the NorthEast take a Hudson Line train from Grand Central Terminal to Cold Spring – trains leave at least one per hour and take 70 minutes. You can see the antique stores or eat lunch or dinner in Cold Spring, then get another train back. Do not bring anything to read on the train – the river and The Hudson Valley are too beautiful for you to get any reading done.

Much of midtown is too touristy to easily find good eats, but in Hell’s Kitchen there are many good restaurants, especially all along 9th Avenue between 45th Street and about 54th Streets.

Downtown:

In Greenwich Village, at 53 Christopher Street, which is between 6th and 7th Avenues at about 8th Street, is The Stonewall Inn, which is famous for the start of the gay liberation movement. When King, Malcom, and Kennedy were already dead, the pill had been invented, and women could vote, homosexuality was still a crime, even in NYC. The law defined things rather broadly: it was a crime for two men to stand facing each other in any bar, and lots of people were arrested for doing just that. There was no gay rights movement, no newspaper, no organization, no nothing until The Stonewall Rebellion, in the summer of 1969.

Then walk East on West 4th Street, cross 6th Avenue, then another block into Washington Square Park, and see the arch. The French built a similar one in Paris.

Go two blocks South to Mamoon’s Falafel at 119 MacDougal Street. Best falafels in town for $4.50, or with Hummus for another $0.50. It is normally easy to tell if someone is not from New York – you don’t see New Yorkers waiting on line. But even New Yorkers wait on the line at Mamoon’s if it is busy. Down the block at 99 McDougal Street, upstairs on the right, is The Kati Roll company. Get a chicken kati roll, or an alu (potatoe) kati roll. Very good eats, but not worth the wait if there is a line, as the line moves very slowly.

Then walk South on Wooster Street to Canal Street, then down West Broadway to the World Trade Center. Then go West to the river and down along the water (clears your head after the WTC) to South Ferry, and take the Staten Island Ferry (clears your head more, except the sniffing dogs “protecting” the ferry terminal since 9/11). Ferry is “free,” runs at least every half hour, runs 24 hours, 20 minutes across the harbor, they kick you off and you get another ferry back 5 minutes later, and see The Statue of Liberty the way my grandparents saw it, which is much better than waiting on line for 4 hours, getting searched, and then taking a boat to the statue itself, where you are too close to it to see anything but the feet.

Then walk up to Wall Street and then over The Brooklyn Bridge, then eat in Junior’s at 386 Flatbush Avenue Extension (corner of Dekalb Ave). Up the block from Junior’s are almost all the subway lines to wherever you want to go.

And, if you don’t go to Central Park on a nice day I’ll never speak to you again.


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